When Sierra's Restaurant abruptly closed earlier this year, it came as a shock to residents who frequented the popular Mexican eatery.
During the Dec. 3 Board of Selectmen meeting, where the Board voted to renew numerous liquor licenses in town, Finance Director/Treasurer Collector Andrea Terkelsen explained some of those struggles were tax related.
Between 2012-13, Sierra's owed the Town of Sudbury more than $23,000 in back taxes, but recently paid $5,000 toward a plan to pay for what's owed.
"The proprietors have changed things a bit and hope to make a go of it," Terkelsen said. "The liquor license is important for the type of business they have."
The biggest change is going from a Mexican-style restaurant to a more American-pub-style eatery.
Terkelsen recommended to the Board to renew the liquor license with the understanding Sierra's keeps up with a monthly payment plan.
"It makes things a bit trickier than we’d like, but my recommendation is to consider providing a 2014 license provided they are able to keep up with terms of written agreement," she said.
The Board agreed unanimously to renew the license.
The payment plan calculates taxes, fees and charges to that date. If the debt is paid off early, Sierra's would save about $3,000 in interest."We do have lien on the property, so the next course of action would be to assume the balance in land court for foreclosure," Terkelsen explained if Sierra's stopped making payments. "It's a long process and adds to the expense ... we don’t want to be property owners."
"The positive thing is we’re getting paid (and) not getting stiffed," Chair John Drobinski said.
Selectmen Len Simon asked for an update on the unpaid taxes in the next four to six months.
"He understands if he doesn’t make monthly payment he’s in breach," Terkelsen said. "Then it's up to you to decide at a public hearing to revoke or suspend the license at that point."
"I think this (plan) is iron clad," Drobinski said. "The town is protected."